MediaWeek reports that single copy newsstand sales of magazines declined from 266 million to 244 million in the third quarter (compared to the same quarter last year).
Writer Lucia Moses quotes Gil Brechtel, president and CEO of publishing data firm MagNet, suggests that the fault lies with higher gas prices, economic problems, and the election, which he thinks took people's attention away from reading magazines.
I'd have to agree with him on the first two, but big news events (especially complex, ongoing ones) don't decrease peoples' appetites for magazines; they increase them, just like the surge in print sales after 9/11. My guess – from a very non-publishing-data-firm background – would be that the election boosted some magazines, so the overall loss of 22 million in copies sold is actually better than it otherwise would have been.
Of course, I'd hate to be right.